Kenny Easley is in the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor, was chosen to the franchise’s 25th Anniversary team and has been voted to the 35th Anniversary edition. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro pick. He also was voted NFL defensive player of the year in 1984 and named to the NFL’s team of the decade for the 1980s.
He accomplished all of this in a seven-year career. But something is missing, because the former strong safety played only seven seasons: His bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I think I’ve missed out on some recognition because I didn’t play as long as some folks think I should have played to earn the recognition,” Easley said on Friday, when he was in town to participate in the Jacob Green Charity Golf Classic.
He didn’t mention the Hall of Fame by name, but the meaning was as impactful as one of those shots he used to deliver with his heavily taped forearms. And that is exactly his problem, the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee has yet to honor Easley because his career is deemed too short – despite the fact that he redefined the way his position was played.
Perhaps they need to take a longer, closer look. As Bill Walsh, the late 49ers coach, once said, “He’d be a Hall of Fame player (had he played longer). Maybe he still is. He was that good.”
Easley’s story is the latest in a series profiling the members of the 35th Anniversary team, which was selected by the readers of Seahawks.com.
“It’s a great honor and I’m happy that the fans feel that, having gone through a number of strong safeties since I left, that old No. 45 was the best, so far,” said Easley.
That’s a great point. Since Easley was forced to retire after the 1987 season because of a kidney ailment, the Seahawks have started a baker’s dozen of players at strong safety: Paul Moyer (1988), Nesby Glasgow (1989-90), Robert Blackmon (1990-96), Bennie Blades (1997), Jay Bellamy (1997-98), Darryl Williams (1999), Kerry Joseph (2000), Reggie Tongue (2000-03), Terreal Bierria (2004), Michael Boulware (2004-06), Jordan Babineaux (2006), Deon Grant (2007-09) and Lawyer Milloy (2010).
Unless someone steps up and does Easley-like things in an Easley-like way, the chances are very good that Easley will be on the next anniversary team that is selected, as well.